Category Archives: Personal Life and Reflections

UTOPIA IS NOT ONLY CREEPY, IT IS ENTIRELY UNTRUE

Personally I think the actual truth lies somewhere in the middle between the hyper-life of the modern technologist and the future will be bleak anti-technologist. It depends almost entirely on not only what man invents but how he chooses to actually employ his inventions/technology. 

That being said I am a firm anti-Utopian. I do not believe in the human utopia (not socialistic, not economic, not technological or scientific, etc.) , either that it is possible, or desirable. It is a badly conceived, utterly juvenile and naive, and entirely impractical idea.

By the way, in listening to him, I can’t help but wonder if Nicholas Carr is not in some way related to Caleb Carr one of my favorite contemporary fiction writers.

 

Brett | February 7, 2017

Personal Development & Philosophy, Podcast

Podcast #276: Utopia is Creepy

A few weeks ago, I had futurist Kevin Kelly on the podcast to discuss the technological trends that are shaping our future. From driverless cars to artificial intelligence that will make new scientific discoveries, Kevin paints a fairly rosy picture of what’s to come.

My guest today sees a different side of the coin, and argues that the future envisioned by many in Silicon Valley is, well, kind of creepy.

His name is Nicholas Carr, and he’s the author of several books that critique the wide-eyed utopianism of technologists. In his book The Shallowshe reported on the research that shows how Google is making us dumber; in The Glass Cage he explored the science on why outsourcing our work and chores to computers and robots might actually make us miserable and unsatisfied in life; and in his latest book, Utopia is CreepyCarr pulls together all the essays he’s written over the years on how the rapid changes in technology we’ve seen in the past few decades might be robbing us of the very things that make us human.

Today on the show, Nicholas and I discuss why he thinks our utopian future is creepy, how the internet is making us dumber, and why doing mundane tasks that we otherwise would outsource to robots or computers is actually a source of satisfaction and human flourishing. We finish our discussion by outlining a middle path approach to technology — one that doesn’t reject it fully but simultaneously seeks to mitigate its potential downsides.

Show Highlights

  • Why the ideology that Silicon Valley is promoting and selling is bad for human flourishing
  • How the frictionless ideal of tech companies isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
  • Why is the idea of utopia so creepy?
  • Why don’t tech companies see that what they’re doing can be perceived as creepy?
  • The illusion of freedom and autonomy on the internet
  • What “digital sharecropping” is and why it exploits content creators
  • The myth of participation and the pleasures of being an audience member
  • Information gathering vs developing knowledge
  • Why Nicholas doesn’t use social media
  • The real danger that AI present humanity (and it’s not necessarily the singularity)
  • Is virtual reality going to catch on? Does it present any problems for society?
  • How can we opt out of the ideology that Silicon Valley is trying to sell?
  • How to ask questions of our technology

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re a bit leery of technology like myself, then you’ll definitely enjoy all of Nicholas’ books. Utopia Is Creepy gives you a big picture look at all of Nick’s ideas on the often overlooked downsides of our unquestioned adoption of digital technology. Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Connect With Nicholas Carr

Nicholas’ website

Nicholas’ blog, Rough Type

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

 

 

 

 

 

OUT OF YOUR GREAT CESSPOOLS

OUT OF YOUR GREAT CESSPOOLS

Out of the “great cities and sprawling urban centers” arise most of the plagues, wholly avoidable disasters, entirely degenerate ideas, unnecessary wars, vapid cultures, weird religions and pathetic self-worshiping idols, bizarre theories, corrupt societies, criminal enterprises, ridiculous examples of fanatical human behavior, tyrannical governments, and mindless, violent herds and mobs that have ever most destructively afflicted the entire Race of Man.

It has always been this way, it will always be that way.

Individually and in small groups man is a wonder, a marvel, a charitable and just being, courageous, productive and capable, clean, pious, truthful, hard-working, often wise and perhaps even, on occasion, a true genius. Just a little lower than the angels, but often even far more humble.

Collectively and in large numbers he is naive, a patsy and a dupe, a tribalist, a socially warped and serfish coward, self-indulgent and self-destructive, degenerate, arrogant, criminalistic, easily manipulated, lazy, a fool, and very often something of an animal. Lower than a beast, for sure, but more desperate and diseased than a virus.

MORE ROMAN PROGRESS

Got my time down to 40 minutes for a  2 1/2 to 3 mile hike in light pack (30 pounds) plus cutting down two small pine trees (soft wood) of about 15 to 20 feet tall with my hatchet. Just finished timing and testing myself.

Also I have divided my packs and rucks into light (30 pounds), medium (50 pounds) and heavy (70 pounds). I thought about making my heavy pack 80 to 100 pounds but given my previously broken back and my knee injuries 70 pounds seemed adequate for my training purposes especially since my Roman Way training (which I’ll discuss later) usually involves carrying tires and logs as well. No sense courting injury, especially at my age. Yeah, yeah, I know, 53 ain’t what it used to be.  People are a lot healthier, stronger, and more youthful than they used to be. Assuming they eat right and take care of themselves. And often I feel like I’m in my thirties, not fifties.

But it took me almost six months to fully rehab my broken wrist from last year and I’m still not up to where my bench press used to be.

However just last week I did 20 pulls ups and later 20 chin ups in the same training routine in addition to my bench presses and the rest of my routine with no wrist pain at all. So that’s good progress as well. And I’m down to 175 pounds, much of which is lean muscle now and so that’s a big advantage.

Also this past weekend I went out in the car and measured where I used to run as a kid. No wonder I was so skinny back then. Turns out I used to run about 8 to 12 miles most every day after school back when I was a kid. Depending on the circuit I took of course. I was thinking I was running more like 4 to 8 miles a day as a kid.

Of course back then I seriously overtrained. I’ve learned better over time.

But now I know exactly how far to run my wife and how to better train her for the mini-marathon she wants to run.

So that’s good too…

A NEW RITUAL (FOR A VERY OLD PURPOSE)

I started a new ritual for the New Year which I have found to be most satisfying and edifying.

I built a new shrine (replacing my old) which now includes candles to Christ and the Paraclete, a basin of Holy Water, a plate for the Communion Bread (a paten), a goblet for the Communion Wine, a glass container for salt,  an incense container, and it sits near my stereo so that as I use it I can listen to sacred music by Bach, Mozart, and others.

Then, after my personal prayers and meditations, but before my work prayers I take communion for myself. I bless all of the elements, ignite the incense and candles, put on the music, and then take communion before saying my work prayers and beginning my day. Afterwards I sprinkle myself with the salt and the Holy Water and then sit for a space listening to the sacred music, thinking about what I should be doing for the day, and contemplating the condition of my own soul.

This is extremely invigorating to me, while simultaneously being relaxing and edifying, and I suspect it will be extremely good practice for when I eventually become a priest.

Anyway, this has been going so well for me that I have decided that once a week I shall conduct the same ritual for and with my entire family.

Eventually I intend to add more elements to my shrine like some Holy Icons I have designed and devised (and if I become good enough at it, will paint myself) and some other relics I think will be helpful and useful. I am thoroughly enjoying this.

Have a good day folks. And a very productive one.

MAN AND WOMAN

A husband and a father should be the Christ and the priest of his own household. A wife and a mother should be the Holy Spirit and the wise woman of her own household.

  *   *   *

A Woman wants a Friend for a Mate; a Man wants a Mate who is a Friend. Figure this out and your marriage will flourish.

  *   *   *

When and where men and women willing sacrifice for the good of the other Love increases and grows great.

  *   *   *

If more people would let God impregnate their hearts then surely far fewer would abort their own offspring. Or their own souls.

from On Man and Woman

 

THE EXCELLENCE OF GOOD DAYS

Spent some of the day playing Skyrim. Just to Vad in my mind and imagination a little. Spent some of the day lifting weights and hiking. Spent some of the day working on the following non-fiction books: The Paths of the Great Man, The Roman Way, and Lifelong Endeavours.
 
Got to work on my Two Week Physical Training Program, to shift around and better organize my files, to finish a children’s story and to do a little bit of work on my new sci-fi short story, The War for Women.
 
Even started a note and sketch book on how I’m going to design The Vadder.
 
Thus it’s been an excellent day. Cold outside for my hike and working out, but otherwise superb.
 
As a matter of fact, starting on Thursday, the kids went away (or one was already at college, the other took a trip) so the wife and I got to spend an excellent couple of days in each other’s presence, relaxing, enjoying each other’s company and enjoying each other physically and sexually.
 
I wasn’t up for our anniversary earlier this month because the wife finally gave me her cold and it struck about the day of our anniversary. But it wasn’t bad and it didn’t last long or do much so this weekend we made up for it.
 
Things are going pretty well for us all and I am extremely optimistic about 2017.
 
I hope the same for you.
 
Now I think I’m gonna go relax a while, read a novel, and if I can track one down listen to a radio play.
 
If not I’ve been listening to an audio book called the Heart and the Fist which I’ve been enjoying immensely. The author and I have a lot in common in our outlook and many of our experiences. I recommend the book.
 
Evening folks.
 

THE TACTICAL ATHLETE AND THE ROMAN WAY

Although I like and regularly follow the Art of Manhood this fit in so well with the new training program I’ve developed, The Roman Way, that I decided that this should definitely be shared here as well. This is exactly how I perceive The Roman Way, as being a tactical, personal, mission-oriented, and fully-functional form of athleticism for the average man and woman (and child).

My wife, by the way, who aside from my youngest daughter and myself happen to be the guinea pig(s) for my program has lost nine pounds (so far), regularly hikes and rucks now and every day after her workout and run she chops down two ten to twenty foot tall trees with her hatchet to help clear our land.

Soon I will teach her how to build things out of the trees she cuts down. Anyway enjoy the podcast and conversation. Later on I will return to The Roman Way and discuss it in more detail as I am now writing a book and training manual on the program.

A lot of really good things are happening nowadays in the fields of personal health and athleticism.

 

Brett | January 17, 2017

Podcast, Tactical & Military

Podcast #270: Becoming a Tactical Athlete

We don’t normally think of soldiers and first responders as “professional athletes,” but that’s exactly how my guest today argues they should see themselves. His name is Rob Shaul, and he’s the founder and president of the Mountain Tactical Institute — a research organization dedicated to creating fitness programming that takes workouts outside the gym and gives them a mission-centered focus. Rob believes that soldiers, police officers, and firefighters, as well as folks who participate in strenuous mountain activities like rock climbing and backcountry skiing, should view themselves as tactical athletes and train not just to train, but for a purpose outside the gym.

Today on the show, Rob and I discuss what makes the Mountain Tactical Institute’s mission-focused approach to fitness different from other organizations, why it is that soldiers and first responders should think of themselves as professional athletes, why soldiers in Afghanistan started following his fitness programming for mountain climbers, why there are so many out-of-shape first responders on active duty, and how to train to become a “tactical athlete,” even if you’re a civilian.

Show Highlights

  • Rob’s background and how he got started in tactical training
  • Why do mountain/adventure athletes even need specific programming?
  • How MTI caught the eye and focus of active military members
  • Why different missions and events require specific fitness programming
  • The most important things listeners can know about fitness requirements for military service
  • The fitness culture (or lack thereof) of first responders
  • The safety issues that present themselves when first responders aren’t fit
  • What happens in our society when fitness standards are implemented in police and fire departments
  • How age impacts one’s role in the military, and in first responder departments
  • Why first responders and military members should see themselves as athletes
  • The philosophy behind becoming a tactical athlete
  • Specific fitness benchmarks and goals for police officers, military members, etc.
  • The importance of durability in any athlete
  • Should civilians strive to be become tactical athletes?
  • The next evolution of fitness, and how we’ll move on from gyms and obstacle races
  • What to do when your programming and workouts get stale
  • What Rob calls “the burden of constant fitness”

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re looking for a fitness routine that’s mission-specific and designed for a purpose, be sure to check out the programs available at MTI. I’m thinking of trying one of them out myself.

Connect With Rob Shaul and Mountain Tactical Institute

Mountain Tactical Institute website

MTI on Instagram

MTI on Facebook

MTI on Twitter

Tell Rob “Thanks” for being on the podcast via Twitter

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

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